- The more any plant is in demand, the more nurseries will charge for it
- Multi-tasking tools can be just as effective as single-purpose ones
- Use a timer to control the water your plants need and the cost of your utilities
Use these ideas to sow your seeds a little smarter -- and reap the financial benefits.
Supply and demand rules at garden centers, and the selection is greatest early in the season. In the spring, you'll find one-gallon boxwoods costing about $8 each, but by the end of summer, large plants costing $30 or more will probably be the only ones left, says Marty Ross, a syndicated gardening columnist in Kansas City, Missouri.
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Stick with one tool
Part knife and part trowel, a hori hori knife is a gardener's best friend. Use it to plant, to grub, and to remove deep-rooted weeds. Buying tools for those specific jobs can cost around $40.
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Cash in on compost
"Many municipalities pick up yard waste and turn it into free compost," says Ross. Ask the office of your town if your community participates.
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Purchase cell packs
Buying one large marigold plant for $8 can give your garden a head start, but a four-pack of smaller ones costs half the price and each of the tiny plants will grow to the size of the large one in just a few weeks.
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Plant tough varieties
Daylilies, asters, and hostas are all vigorous and low-maintenance, which means you won't have to make another trip to the nursery for replacements.
Attach a timer to the spigot
A sprinkler or a soaker hose left running wastes a lot of water. Spend $15 now on a mechanical water timer and save on tomorrow's water bills.
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Buy native flora
After one season, they're completely established, so a nasty freeze shouldn't zap them. Purchase cone flowers (native in much of the country), or go to plantnative.org to learn what grows naturally in your region.
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